My spin on the Emperor’s invisible clothing: it’s made up of other people’s "skins", their fears, their flattery and all the faces they present to the Emperor. He gains confidence by their willingness to submit. He gains importance by their being less important. If he were to see the process, his power would evaporate. The observer’s willingness to play along has an impact that can influence or even dominate the observed.
Taken from the Ernest Becker Listserv Discussion Archives